Reported by SHELBY TALCOTT AND TAYLOR GILES, CONTRIBUTORS | June 27, 2021
The U.S. military conducted airstrikes against Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border Sunday.
The strikes targeted “operational and weapons storage facilities” in Syria and Iraq, according to a press release from Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. The facilities were used by Iranian militia groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), according to the press release.
“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel,” Kirby said.
Iran-backed militias were targeted in the strikes as a result of the militias’ ongoing attacks against U.S. interests in the region.
“The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope,” Kirby went on to say. (RELATED: Biden Reportedly Called Off Second Syria Airstrike After Woman, Children Spotted At Site)
The Pentagon sought approval from Biden in May and were delayed twice prior to Sunday’s announcement, a source familiar with the situation told the Daily Caller. The airstrikes occurred following reported attacks against U.S. forces at bases in Iraq, the source added. These recent attacks reportedly included a “bomb-laden drone” and rocket attacks, The Jerusalem Post previously reported.
Pentagon spokesperson Commander Jessica McNulty told the Daily Caller that President Joe Biden determined the airstrikes “would protect U.S personnel.” She called the strikes “necessary” and “appropriate.”
“We always reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing to protect and defend our people; today was the right moment to act,” McNulty said. “The President determined that taking this action would protect U.S. personnel, and that these strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope.”
“The strikes were necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation,” she added. “Through these and other means, we seek to make clear to Iran and Iran-backed militia groups that there will be serious consequences if they continue to attack, or to arm, fund, and train militia groups that attack our people. We will take necessary and appropriate measures to defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”
McNulty also confirmed recent reported attacks against facilities used by U.S. personnel – the reason behind Sunday’s airstrike.
“Iran-backed militias have conducted at least five one-way UAV attacks against facilities used by U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq since April as well as ongoing rocket attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces,” she said in a statement.
Biden has previously been criticized for targeting Iranian-backed militias in airstrikes back in February. “We ran on ending war, not escalating conflicts in the Middle East. Our foreign policy needs to be rooted in diplomacy & the rule of law, not retaliatory airstrikes without Congressional authorization,” Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted in February.